December 6, 2016

Dec. 6

December 6, 2016:  Tuesday, 2nd week, Advent / St. Nicholas

  • 'Alps' tie pin:  Every mountain and hill shall be made low; go up to a high mountain (1st reading)
  • 'Hand' tie pin:  Israel has received double from the Lord's hand (1st reading)
  • Green shirt:  “All flesh is grass that withers (1st reading)
  • 'Sheep,' 'lamb' tie bars:  He feeds his flock like a shepherd, gathering the lambs... (1st reading); shepherd seeks the stray and rejoices on finding it (gospel)
  • Purple suspenders:  Advent season
  • 'Crowns' tie:  The Lord is king (psalm)
  • 'Tree' pin:  Let the trees rejoice before the Lord (psalm)
Listen
For St. Nicholas
Pope Francis
Homily:  The Lord is a judge full of tenderness who does everything to save us.  He loves each of us personally.  He knows us and loves us for what we are.  The lost sheep got lost because it had a sick heart and was running away; it was in inner darkness.  The Lord always looks for the lost sheep.  Judas is the most perfect lost sheep:  bitter heart, detached, unsatisfied, always critical.  Because of the darkness in his heart, he was separated from the herd.  Darkness can lead to a double life, one many Christians lead.  “Brother Judas, what was happening in your heart?”  We need to understand lost sheep; each of us is part lost sheep.
It's not so much a mistake as a disease that makes us wander; the devil exploits this.  Judas' heart was divided.  When he saw the harm his double life had wreaked, the evil he'd sown, looking for a light not the Lord's, he despaired.  The good Lord never stops looking for the lost sheep.  When Judas hanged himself, he had repented.  The good news of Christmas asks us to rejoice with a sincerity that brings a change of heart that leads us to take comfort in the Lord, not ‘escapist’ consolations.
In the Garden of Olives, Jesus called Judas 'friend.'  If you don't know the Lord's caresses, you don't know Christian doctrine!  If you don't allow the Lord to caress you, you're lost!  The consolation we seek is in God’s tenderness that saves us and brings us back to the fold.  Lord, give us the grace to recognize our sins as we wait for God who comes to console us with the tenderness.
To Pontifical Academies:  Taking care of people, starting with the smallest and weakest, means also taking care of the environment where they live.  Small gestures, simple actions, small sparks of beauty and love can heal, mending the often lacerated and divided fabric of society, the city, and the environment, representing an alternative to indifference and cynicism.

Read
    'Lost sheep'
    (Animate)
  • Is 40:1-11  God:  Comfort my people.  Proclaim tenderly her service is over.  Prepare the Lord's way!  People shall see his glory.  All flesh is withering grass, but God's word stands forever.  Here is your God who rules with strength, with his reward.  Like a shepherd he feeds, carries, and leads his flock.
  • Ps 96:1-2, 3, 10ac-13  "The Lord our God comes with power."  Sing to God a new song; announce his salvation and wondrous deeds.  Say the Lord is king, governing with equity.  Heaven and earth, rejoice, for the Lord comes to rule with justice!
  • Mt 18:12-14  “If you have 100 sheep and one goes astray, won't you leave the 99 to search for the stray? And if you find it, you rejoice more than over the rest.  In the same way, your Father doesn't want any of these little ones be lost.”
Reflect
    • Creighton:  Advent provides the opportunity to bask in God’s forgiveness and prepare ourselves for Christ.  May I follow his example of showing compassion, care, empathy, and tolerance to a diverse society and advocate for and serve those most in need....
    • One Bread, One Body:  "The power of one":  The Lord God comes with power, also like a humble, gentle shepherd, gently to gather us with care.  Power and sacrificial love are necessary for unity. The secular culture is a tremendous obstacle.  Leading God's people to unity requires the power of a lion and the vulnerability of a lamb, a Suffering Servant-Leader who lays down his life for his sheep.  Jesus unites us one heart at a time....
      The real St. Nicholas

    • Passionist:  “A voice cries out…”:  Will we hear the voice that offers love, reconciliation, peace, and justice?  We need to quiet down.  Friendships survive in part because the friends can dwell in the silence that connects them.  Advent calls us to silence.  We need to find quiet time.  “Advent invites us to almost hold our breath as God leaps into time, to earth, to Flesh, to history.  We're invited to stand still as the Artist begins painting and sculpturing our image within his” (Gillick).  We can appreciate this only in the silence of our heart.  If we remain busy, we’ll miss God's words of comfort and love....
    • DailyScripture.net:  "God carries us in his bosom":  To be alone, lost, and disoriented is a great fear.  Scripture comforts us, assuring God won't rest till we find our way home to him.  The Scriptures use the image of a shepherd:  God promised he'd shepherd us and lead us to safety.  Jesus is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep.  The lost sheep parable gives us a glimpse of a true shepherd, and the joy of a community reunited with its lost members.  Shepherds watched over their sheep, protecting them from wolves, lions, and other danger, searching for the lost.  Delay could mean disaster and death. Sheep are social creatures; an isolated sheep can become bewildered, disoriented, and neurotic, easy prey.  The shepherd's grief and anxiety turns to joy when he restores the lost sheep to the fold.  The shepherd searches till he finds what he lost.  God wants us to be saved, restored to friendship with him....